I have had a lovely, trouble-free Compaq Presario for about four years. And suddenly, over the last few months, it has become an asshole of the highest order.

I won’t list the troubles we’ve had for one reason — it will simply make us look like complete drooling moronic boneheads for failing to backup our iTunes, our photos and everything else in the months since it started giving us the major finger on a regular basis and my dear friend Tanya’s lovely IT guru husband, Rowbear, began an almost weekly routine of patiently coming to our rescue to clean off the viruses that mysteriously showed up, to install decent anti-virus programs that kept getting taken out of commission, etc, etc, etc.

Tonight, the worst happened. My daughter was told by MSN Messenger that updates were available, just as she is every few months. She clicked yes, as she has always done. It told her the computer needed to be restarted for the newer version of MSN Messenger to take effect. She turned the computer off. And then it refused to reboot, saying Windows was gone. I came home, cranky to begin with, to a weepy teenaged girl and tried to put the PC in recovery mode. It refused to recover. I got the old “registry could not be updated” fatal error message over and over again. In short, everything is gone and the PC is dead. I won’t say these were pleasant moments, especially for the girl, whose knowledge of pop music exceeds my own. She had everything from bootlegged old Velvet Underground songs to M.I.A. and A Tribe Called Quest in her truly impressive iTunes library.

Rowbear, God love him, thinks he might be able to get back the massive iTunes library, lovingly compiled by my daughter for years (and her iPod was recently stolen, so she can’t even transfer some treasured songs back to the PC from her iPod), and all of the pictures she’s stored on the computer since she was 14. But it’s a big might.

In short — back up your files, people. It’s so easy to do now — you can even do it online through Google. Because you just never know when your once trusty, reliable and kind-hearted PC is going to wake up one morning and decide it hates your fucking guts and everything you stand for.

(P.S. Thank you, Rowbear. You are a giant among men. There is another bottle of champagne coming your way, and cash. Lots of cash.)